Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food

By Randall Putala © 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha

aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 .Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs.

I'm buying from you". I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. of course you're correct. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. All this. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. He says to the salesman. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. I won't accept them. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . No freebies or add-ons. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. The salesman looks stunned.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. Without blinking an eyelash now. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. And based on the way most people view food shopping. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. it’s not really as absurd as you might think." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. he replies. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. whether it is competitive or not.

if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. and happy savings! 5 . But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. I'm being facetious. If so. And at the end of the day. Sure.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. week in and week out. and you’ll get the answer immediately. enjoy. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. You see.receipts. as if they couldn't use an extra $1. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. perhaps. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. and I really can show you how to do it. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. like clockwork. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% .000 or $50. that you’re NOT that guy. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. "I'm not poor!" they insist. it's pretty much a one-time investment. Read. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. you probably don't need to clip coupons.000 or more per year. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing.

refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.Randall Putala Author P. 6 . just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits.S.

I WANT THE BEST STUFF. AND I'M FRUGAL. AND I'M CHOOSY. I've got a family to feed. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I'M IN A HURRY. I'M CHOOSY. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. 5. or position on the shelf ). advertising campaign. OUT OF MY WAY. I'm too busy. I'M IN A HURRY. I'M LOST. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. 2. I'd like to save money. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. highest price. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. 4.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. LET ME COMPARE. I'M IN A HURRY. 3. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. and pick the cheapest one. Time is not as important to me as saving money. I'll be out of here in no time. but it's just not possible with my schedule. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal.

Change your mindset. Here. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. 8 . It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. and you'll lower your food costs. please read it again. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. It's that simple. Now. and you will lower your food costs. It’s very important. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. So do it. Change your mindset.eating better and healthier food than theirs. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. It's that simple. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart.

you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. Conversely. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. If this is the case. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. or pantry months after the fact. freezer. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. You have items that you never seem to run out of. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. 3. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. d. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. Uneaten goods. you may not be making smart choices for your family. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). Everyone is different. High grocery expenses. Insufficient food supply. c. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. Keep your receipts for one month. and everyone likes different things from time to time. "there's nothing to eat". you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. Unhappy campers. b. 4.

It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. Steer yourself back to the basics. item by item. You're cooking too much food. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. It just looked good at the time. Binge snacking. b. 6. 7. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. (More on this subject later in the book. Your cooking proportions are too large. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. Excessive leftovers. so you put it in your cart.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. but few people notice it. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. You're cooking the wrong stuff. But something made you want to take that action. 5. and your budget will 10 . keep reading. Sticker shock. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. so you did.

it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. prebagged. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. you'll all be happier and healthier.thank you for it. 11 . If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. pre-cooked. expensive meals. and even the signs in the grocery store. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. the print ads in your magazines. or find a way to buy more for less.

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Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.

b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!


3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan


Work on learning to cook individual items really well. As you master each new step. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. etc. that will turn out perfectly.these side dishes carefully. 8 minutes. clip them out and put them in an envelope. and write down notes for this. REALLY. though. 4. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. like "3 meat items". the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. Make a simple list by category. really. you may a problem. all is not lost. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. Keep it simple. b. write down the steps: i. Rest assured. If you are this type of shopper. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. Next. and stop there. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. etc. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. Take really. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . For example. I'M LOST. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. Cook for 5 minutes on high. Wet the potato with running water iii. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. change it to 7 minutes. If this works. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. Containment is the key word here. If you need more time. small steps to organize your shopping trips. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. START SMALL. great. "5 breakfast items". Poke holes in potato with fork ii. until you get it absolutely right.

000 raise at work. 5.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop.000 – $3. and then doing those same things next time you cook. you're ready for the master class. It just takes practice to know what works. down. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. AND I'M CHEAP. $60. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. Get cheap. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. the more you'll save. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. The guy in line behind you. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. I'M IN A HURRY. Some items will be necessities. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. I WANT THE BEST STUFF.500 – $3. chock full of the finest foods in the store. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. book. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. you CAN do better if you just review your options. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. and stay cheap. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. down. down.500 or more per year on groceries.

the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. If you plan these side dishes carefully. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. and stay cheap. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. is because cooking is really very simple. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. The reason it looks so effortless to them. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. 18 . Some items will be necessities. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. Learn what works for you. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap.with better recipes. To save money. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. and you won't always have a coupon for it. but you can rely on your own notes. you CAN do better if you just review your options. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon.

What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. visualize yourself paying $100. If you do what you've always done. It can be a big help. Stand by this realization. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. Step 6 – Reconsider. Make yourself accept it. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. your mental attitude. Write down how they make you feel.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . and your weight. If you're currently paying $200 per week. Step 5 – Affirm.) Step 1 – Acknowledge. you tend to get what you've always gotten. and what they are doing to your health.. you've got to be prepared to try new things. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. seek professional counseling. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there.. Seriously. Step 2 – Believe. Once you can visualize the change you want. If you still don’t understand the connection. Step 4 – Reflect. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. Step 3 – Be Flexible. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs.

Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project.” Find a substitute. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. Humilty is the stepstone of success. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. and if you like it – keep buying it. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. Now comes the fun part. buy it. and 'do the aisle again. “STOP!” Reset your mind.regarding your shopping habits. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. “I’ve always eaten this. Step 8 – Record. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. Take it slow. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. items that cost too much. 20 . Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. and enter a new instruction. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. you must mentally shout out. You may be thinking. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. turn around. Step 7 – Be Humble. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. put the guilty items back on the shelf.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. There's a lot for you to learn about food.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. tofu instead of cheese. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. your refrigerator and your freezer. for the NEW me. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. your mind may think of it as a reward. Step 10 – Reject. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. I’ve always been able to afford it.

If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. and put it in a bank savings account immediately. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. If you're very diligent.Step 12 – Rejoice. get 'cash back' equal to that amount. 21 .

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and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. She's not exactly poor… Smart. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. it doesn't matter. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. yes – but not poor. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. and it's your lucky day. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. Would you turn it down. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. and more will be given to you over time. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. save. 23 . REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. When I go shopping. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. Love them or hate them. I feel disappointed. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. In fact. They are always looking for ways to save. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries.

And now his picture is on the $100 bill. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. You probably deserve a break. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. "A penny saved is a penny earned". money to blow on a super vacation. let alone shopping for yourself. you're very lucky. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not.000 or $3.! 24 . consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. so take one. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. and you really do work every moment of every day. When you arrive at this conclusion.000 per year... I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. using coupons is a waste of time. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. not me. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. Benjamin Franklin said it. a new hot tub. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. let alone using coupons. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket.. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time..

“Oh. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout.” Okay. If you use coupons effectively. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. along with the other techniques described in this book. you write a check for $75. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. Instead. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. great. That's real money. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. no” you might say. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. Some are also for 25 . It's not rocket science. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. Trust me. even if you use coupons. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. Yes. and it really does stay in your bank account. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. View it however you like. That is a fact. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash.

Smart money management never goes out of style. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so... you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. But guess what? If you don't want it. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. and don't use coupons. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. or don't like it. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time.products that are overpriced. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. However. Then. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. don't need it. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. you probably don't need to use coupons.. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't.. need and use every day. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life.

Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. etc. They must replenish the sold product. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. they wouldn't issue the coupons. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. an affluent shopper. enjoy the products. the more products they sell. the higher the coupon redemption rate. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. super-premium items. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. They want people to try their products. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). Coupons help spur the economy. and become repeat customers. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. regardless of who redeems them. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. higher-priced items. In fact. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. using their coupon to buy their product. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry.compound into larger debt over time. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . not theirs. and that can be very hard to overcome.

They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . They develop new lines of products. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. REALITY: Again. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. packaging.. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. And when you go to buy the product again. and on and on for years. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. the next time. new combinations. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. because they believe that consumers will like them. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. new flavors. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. etc. they're actually very smart.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. This is the manufacturer's goal. So guess what: once you try the product.

couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. etc. Case closed. you've just lost your vote. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . if you have some other method to earn $1. 2. and save some for your own use. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. it can be fun. Save your pennies. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today.000 per year. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES.? If not. 3. Or. Do you have the very latest clothing. electronics. REALITY: If you do it right. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. give some to charity. cars. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. Examples: 1. you're right: you don't need to save money.000 per year. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. $2. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. couponing is not for you.000. You’ll feel better about it. and a real waste of time. nickels. you need to save more money. If you are independently wealthy. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. home furnishings. or simply don't care about money.MYTH 9: I make a good living. and couponing is a step in the right direction. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. At least not the same tomorrow as today. 4.

it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. couponing takes a little effort. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time.. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. And for you. Save money on groceries. But the ends justify the enjoy . BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. Conversely. you should pursue it. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. Yes. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . Yes. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style.. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. you're very lucky. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. because that is what made them rich. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker.

they're actually very.larger debt over time. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. you'll feel better. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn.. very smart. They want you in their store. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. with the best items in their store. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable.. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. and that can be very hard to overcome. They don’t worry about overcharging you. 31 . and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. give it to a real charity. and so will they. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. If you really don't need to save money. And for you. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. in fact. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life.

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NEVER try to use an expired coupon. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. Learn them. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. STRATEGY. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. up to 99¢. Live them. 20 coupon maximum per visit). (e. This is the creation of a PLAN. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. then WORK YOUR PLAN. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. i. up to 50¢.g. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. 2. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. 1. If not. b. etc. and the many rules. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. TACTICS. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. 33 . up to 60¢. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing.e. This is the actual implementation of the plan. you WILL save money. 3. leave immediately and find a store that does.

e. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. 7. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud.) 6. even low-value coupons. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. flavors and variations of the product.4. CLIP EVERYTHING. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. especially to the grocer who accepts them. If your coupon is expired. Most coupons are brand specific.g. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. or must you buy 2?) 5. They have real value. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. the scanner will catch it instantly. HYPER VALUES. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . Coupons are negotiable documents. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. Plus. (can you buy only 1.

So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. At some point near the middle of the promotion. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. they have no chance of getting credit for it. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. Over the next few weeks. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. they start to appear in stores. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. Do it once too often. 35 .. From that point on.. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager.) As I stated above. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. If they accept a coupon that is expired. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. So you are really attempting to steal from the store.

In areas with only marginal competition. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. 36 . especially senior citizens and families with children. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. If you were a product manager at the food company. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. This is when many products are put on special. or offered as a 'BOGO'. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. In areas with high competition. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper.

This will take a little practice. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. BEFORE you shop there. The most common level you will find is 50¢. Doubling value of the coupon. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. You may want to use a lower-value coupon. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. Store sale. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. IF the store has the item on sale. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons.59 $2. If you don't. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling.2. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. More about this later. Again.00 $. but it will pay off big 37 . But combined with the sale price.19 As you can see. which could net out a greater discount for you. b. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. the net savings effect is multiplied. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled.59 (coupon not doubled) $1.29 on sale $1. When you view the face value of your store coupons. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in.55 $1. It’s true.

Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling.time in terms of savings. 2. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. 38 . Alternatively. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. OVERSTOCK. Sometimes. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. the lower the coupon value. EXPIRATION DATE. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. the greater the net discount. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations.

Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. and they'll be glad to get it.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. do not pass up the BOGO deal. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. It is your right to know. If you honestly don't need two of an item.3. someone can use the second item. 4. Many times they are store-specific. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. they can buy just one and pay half the price. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. This is not always the case. If you were going to buy the item anyway. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. LOSS LEADER. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. However. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store.

Store doubles the coupon value to $1. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price.00. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it.50.50 for two boxes of cereal. Box. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal.50.25 per box of cereal.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal. 21 oz. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal. $2. You have now saved $2.25 each. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. Box. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids.75 for one box of cereal. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free. 50¢ off on one box purchase. You have now saved $2.50. And 40 . Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. regular price $3. To keep senior customers happy.75. regular price $3.00.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens. get one free. 21 oz. 50¢ off on one box purchase. for a grand total savings of $4. $1. Buy one at $3.

some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. OR. and not clip it. If you follow my techniques for regular. Plus. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products.29 50¢ $1. After all. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. not Brand B or Brand C. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. a feeling of euphoria and power. For example. and they deserve the sale it generates. over and over again.69 $1.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. But as you can see in our example. systematic couponing. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. it's the thrill of the hunt. You might like the brands you haven't tried.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. Be doubly careful about checking 41 .29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution.

because they often won't scan properly. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. They're great for finicky eaters. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. 42 . WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. All four are frozen dinners. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. SIGNS LIE. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal. you'd pay about $7.99 per individual package.50 per package). and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. "Singles". You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos".99 for two (net cost $2. The industry calls these "line extensions". I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. and sign wording. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. For example. sign placement. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs.00 extra for the same amount of meat.

SALES CLERKS LIE. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. When an item rings up wrong.e. i. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. Check the dates first. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. and the coupon will be authorized. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. especially when you know you're right." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. they're not so certain. "Save $1. And once you've left the store.00 on 2".And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. "that item was on sale last week. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. But you will only be charged for one item. FLYERS LIE. there is nothing you can do about it. so you will have technically purchased two. So don't believe what you see. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. 43 . believe what you verify before you check out. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. because you must buy two of them. Do I need two of this item. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). All of a sudden. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. but it's not on sale now.

The same rule applies to flavors. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. In most cases.35). bottle.00). The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. In other words. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. in the example above. You have to understand that there are over 10. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. It may require a matching purchase. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk".50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. bottle. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. and paying the regular price for your milk. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf.000 items in the typical grocery store.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. be sure to read the fine print. that is the rule. If in doubt. So you must spend $7. box of our cereal. bottle only. bottle. For example. the store's 44 . you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask.

or approximately $1. You'll now be paying $4. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. It just doesn't get any better than this. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. In most cases. use it. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. they offer them at 50% off. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. plus the cashier will take off the $1. typically on a 45 . The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'.50 for the milk. BONUS BUYS. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz.70 in doubled value for these coupons. IT MUST BE ON SALE. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. you could get $1.33 per box. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. Instead of 99¢.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements.00. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. they're marked down to 50¢. you are now getting the peaches for FREE. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. You never know until you try. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer.

Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.

BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon

for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)


Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats


$40. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. the system won't work. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. $5.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. i. I'm 50 . Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money.e. Yes.e. You should simply spend the extra $30. reading a magazine or talking on the phone.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons.

It's bad form. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using.being sarcastic. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. Canned Goods. it can be embarrassing. I use a small wicker basket. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. it can actually be illegal. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. if you do it knowingly. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. and. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . – SORT ALL AT ONCE. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. I find that it helps to set a specific time. Dairy. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. When you have the time. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. a hobby. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. Then. It's like anything else – a diet. When it's time to do my sorting. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. obviously don't clip that coupon. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using.

and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. Remember. Of course.. Then. Of course. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. it’s just mentally easier. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. bread & cereal is always top right. so I tend to focus on those most of all. and do it all at once. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. 60. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. this doesn't 52 . lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. when I'm done. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. baked goods. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes.& Store Discount categories. even 90 minutes. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. Add in your drive time home. you can develop your own routine. It's a good thought. meats. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. If you do this. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. If you follow the expert's advice. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. and easier to stick to. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. Do it the same way each week. etc. etc. For example. i.e. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. they could be out of refrigeration for 45.

2. And chances are.00 off coupon. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. because Brand B is on sale for $2. meat and frozen foods for last. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. you'll pay $2. POCKET. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'.49. right? WRONG! In this case. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. your net cost of buying it will be $1.apply to produce. 3. MATCH.99.00 off. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. Plus. It takes a little discipline. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. SCAN. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. and that's the place to start shopping first. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off.99. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. $1. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. i. dairy products. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. you will find that 53 . and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. With your dollar off. As an even better value proposition. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables.e. When you have an appealing coupon. 4. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. Save the bread.49. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter.

The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. Buy two cans of an identical item. At my local dollar store. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. They change the labels! If you doubt this. they have a great food products section. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. I know. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. I can assure you. And frankly. Most people are reactive shoppers. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. they typically won't know the difference. Yes. Yes. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. and used the generic-brand labels. Cook both items. You'll find that in most stores. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. REVIEW. They carry lots of 54 . But when they're cooked and on your table. they don't shut down the production line. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. which go for about three times the cost of generic. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. and serve them up in identical dishes. I prefer the 'baby' peas. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design.

By this. size. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. In fact. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. Last but not the least. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. Most of the biggest. POCKET the coupon. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. it tastes just like the leading brand. kitchen select soup. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. as well as the expiration date. When you taste the sauce. This may seem like a really dumb step. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. and you’ll enjoy a real deal.. Check the brand name. but in some cases it is. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. for example. etc. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. but it's actually very important. home-style soup. POCKET. MATCH. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy.condiments and sauces. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. some of them will be downright awful. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. One top brand sells regular soup. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. chunky soup. But if you try them. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. flavor. Take soup. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products.

So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. I use my left pocket. Again. Again. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. you can't REDEEM them. if I find that I have an expired coupon.when you are buying your groceries. on every shopping trip. If you do things the same way each week. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. and putting them all in one safe secure place. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. they won't be redeemed. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. Create your own system or use mine. but that's just a personal preference. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. but now it's gone. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . and follow it like clockwork. During the course of my shopping trip. you will systematically save money. And it WILL add up over time. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. Just make sure you have a true system.

and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. In other words. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. and you'll get better at them day after day. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s).. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. Remember. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. similarly. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system.. once you leave the store. Do things the same way every time.

58 .

chances are there is one somewhere in your office.. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. Now. insert the dollar bill into the shredder.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. Turn the shredder on. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder. Step 4. Wake up and smell the mocha java. Coupon Litmus Test'.S.S. Step 1. and one by a food manufacturer. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. I don’t waste REAL money. *NOTE: Destruction of U. currency is illegal. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. people! 59 . doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse..00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. too. Do not actually implement this test. try taking the 'Currency vs. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption.* (Hey wait.!) Step 3. Mint. Step 2. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. (Feels good. Locate a paper shredder.Chapter 8: The Currency vs. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. Step 5. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. and for shock value. Okay. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section.

just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. I sometimes get in a hurry.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1.59 for it. Some people say. Then. coupon in hand. store sells single item for half the price. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. 60 . you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. you're throwing away cash. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. It's all just part of the process. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. When you think you're getting a $3. If this is your situation. and to be perfectly honest with you. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so.

Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. SCAN. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. As any astute shopper knows. the regular price. Often. Here's how these clubs work: 1. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. 4. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. You join the club. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. All of these items feature a barcode. When you go to check out. They will typically show two prices: A. SHOP. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program.Chapter 9: Clubs. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. 2. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. the club member's price. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. and B. In most stores. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. with a price. You must join every club. 3. GET ANALYZED. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. JOIN.

and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. You are a powerhouse consumer. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves.99'. "Big Brother" is alive and well. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers.information is not extremely valuable by itself. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 .000. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store.e.19. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. But as a member of a specific demographic group. '2 for $3. let's say that your household income is between $75. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product. when the normal price of a single item is $2. For example. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. so they make the most money off of you.000 and $80. i. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. Of course. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate.

talking participant in the world's largest focus group. etc. slightly more sinister. you can see it below the barcode on the package. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. street address.will pay any cost for a particular item. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. you have to fill out a registration form. As a club member. marital status. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. Now. 2. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. let's look at how this happens: 1. You tell them your name. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. Welcome to the Maze. 3. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. CLUB MEMBER CODE. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. Guess what product that code 63 . before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). you're not too far off the mark. children's age. although they will. You need to join them. REGISTRATION. they are in essence telling the store manager. Every item in the store carries a product code. in infinite detail. PRODUCT CODE. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. The computer knows what every item is. too. etc.

The information saves them time. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. They've picked it. and what you buy. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. where you live. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well. the top 1/10th of that 64 . It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. in a word. does it? No. no. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. packaged it.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month.6 that month. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. In fact.4 bottle level dropped to 0. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. NO. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. Scary stuff. Why would they do this to you. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. The ultimate solution being.represents? It's YOU.1 bottles per month. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. shipped it. SHARED DATA. The computer knows who you are. but prefer the name brand variety. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. and sold it for years. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. 4.

and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. but she's doing alright. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. because she's buying 4. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. 5. Betty doesn't make a huge income. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. ZERO 65 . You're part of a larger consumer group. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. So the kids are happy. Based on sheer numbers. but the big family-size boxes.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. if only she would try them. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. To see how this works. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. After all. not just the wealthiest households.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make.pyramid is the affluent markets.

BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and


diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons


of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.


There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. for every item in the store. But in my book. and they will continue to do it in the future. the bargains are well worth it. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. every day. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. you "don't have time" to save money. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. they are in essence telling the store manager. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. 69 . BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. thank you.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now.

BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels.O. If you learn how to play their game. 70 . you'll get the card immediately. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. But coupons are coming your way. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. The sooner you start the process. cell phones and other high-ticket items.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. You'll get more offers and better values over time. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. HDTV sets. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. not just the wealthiest households. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. Box. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. Of course. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. or a P. get a card at the grocery store in that area.

hair coloring. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. hard-working youth of America. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. it's the seniors. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. What is a rebate club? Simply put. If you visit 3 stores a month. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. My record on free items is $62 in one month. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. even if you don't normally shop there. When it comes to pharmacies. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month.800 a year. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. this one technique alone could save you over $1. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. etc. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. when they're 71 . Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. people are definitely creatures of habit.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. toupee wax. It's not always true. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning.

99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. $2.e.00 rebate on a $2. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. Be sure to process your . In most drug stores.00 off the purchase price of the item.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. but they only tell you this in the fine print.00 or $3. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. In other words.99 rebate for buying it. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. REVIEW THE OFFERS. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. Apparently. Others will be $1. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER.) 3. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. i. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. a $7. You have to check these carefully. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it.00. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway.99 item. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. it's really free. 72 4. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. 2. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. but it's really more trouble than it's worth.

Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. exactly the way they say it. if you haven't gotten your rebate. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. 5. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. The retailers call this "breakage". That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. 6. you'll have proof of mailing it in. or they will refuse it. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. which is the next critical point. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. After a few months.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. Read the fine print. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. 7. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. For most clubs. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. What you DON'T want to do is say. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file.

74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . Plus. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. So always use the credit before using real cash. It may seem trivial. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. rather than have them issue you a check. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. 9.within the proper timeframe. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. then pay any remaining balance with cash. Plus. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. Using my photocopies. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. 8. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. CASH SECOND. and you can't turn it in for cash. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. it's good money management. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. This may seem like a lot of work. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. use it first when making purchases at the store. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. Proving this would be difficult.

Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. Alarms will go off. You only have to do this once. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. Well.00 off. Why is it. Sorry – there is no way around this one. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. I found a $2. The Most Amazing.days while your rebate form is being processed. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. that may be a little bit exaggerated. The headline read. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud." In checking the other coupons.00 off coupons on several others. however: • No Doubling. In most grocery stores.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. when the rebate check arrives. (No big deal here. and $1. If you are really cash-strapped. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. So I could easily get a total of $8. Then.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items.) 75 . deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. then. if you do it right. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out.

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month.• No Price Reductions. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 . this one technique alone could save you over $1. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. Saving $8. at the same time.800 a year.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. When the drug store puts out savings like this. even if you don't normally shop there.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. however. If you visit 3 stores a month. All that said.

Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. 1. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. assume that their 77 . cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. circling each of the ten on the receipt. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. so this one is obvious. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. Also. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. 2. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. In this case. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. READ THE FINE PRINT.50 per item purchased. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. read it. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. Okay.

Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.50 $0. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time.89 $3.39 $0. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.08 $3.00 per can.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8. 3. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate. kids' fruit snacks. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.50 $0. but they're not shown in the photo.00 (qty. In one example.80 (40¢ coupon) $0. they're also on sale quite frequently.30 ($5.39 $11.50 $0.09 $3.59 Baking Mix $3.39 $1. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer.09 $1.49 $19.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.89 $2.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.01) $0.99 $1.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.30) $0.10 (55¢ coupon) $0.89 Can Green Beans $1.50 $0.39 $1.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3. b. To get the maximum value for your effort. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.50 $0. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.78 Quantity 2 ($0.50 $0.50 $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $1. yogurt drinks.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.49 $2.78 $0.09 $2.30) $0.29 ($0. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed.00 (50¢ coupon) $0. c.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1.50 - $2. 2) $0.00) . Here's why: a.99 FINAL COST $24.00 ($13. The soup line is already heavily couponed. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.59 $0.99 $1.

But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. you can save an extra $10. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. 79 . due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort.As you can see. But if you DO make the effort. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. It doesn't sound like much.

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Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. We're talking about flour. etc.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. spices. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. if they are to remain viable and profitable. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. 81 .500 per year after taxes. and 'brown bags' their lunches. let's look at a fictitious family. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. dairy products.43 per day on meals. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. – items they use each and every day. or a total of $21. For an example. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day.

the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. At a restaurant. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. At the Jones household.43 per day. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. 82 . the family must do without new clothing. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. reduce or eliminate their savings. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. the business will fail. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. month after month. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. cancel their insurance. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. or reduce in one of the other areas.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. month after month. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. Often. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill.

Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. a social life. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. If you want to change your diet. some eggs. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. you know. Mom needs a break too. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. They are: • BUY BIG. while paying less for them. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. That's all. let's leave it at that. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. Get larger sizes of items. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. and put a plan in place. that's fine. get some professional advice. Many writers have covered that territory. and/or kids in school. household supplies and personal care items. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. go see your doctor. I'm not a doctor. 83 . The big jar typically contains twice as much. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour.

But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. beef. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. As long as you will eventually consume the item.00. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. Sweet Potatoes. Bulgar Wheat. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. Currently. plus chopped broccoli. rice and sauce. stock up & save.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. Grits. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. Again. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. Stock up when items are on sale. pork. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. etc. • BUY BASIC. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. if it's available now at half the cost or below. 84 . Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life.00 to $6. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5.

and they're not idiots. either. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot. 85 . except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality.Two or three cups of chopped. and it's ready to serve. chopped .1/4 cup of soy sauce . In some cases. cooked broccoli . Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. It's sustenance. And.One or two cooked carrots. cook on low for about 10 minutes.One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. because it was chopped. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. So overall. but nothing to rave about.Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. cooked and frozen a long time ago. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. it's an okay meal.Various spices in minute amounts . The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal.Two or three cups of cooked rice . because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen. savoring the taste.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. the garlic isn't really zingy. and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well.One or two garlic cloves. sliced . . doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. and that's what dinnertime is all about. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy.

And in many cases. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. 86 . and you have a coupon for them. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. or the items you buy are very perishable. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. But for everyone / everything else. or you eat like a church mouse. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. the more you will lower your cost of food. the lower the cost per serving. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. the bigger the package. it's made of bread and spices. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. buying small makes sense. Is it bad stuff? Well. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. IF you were starting from scratch. Just remember this: in most cases. and they can save you a lot of time. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. so they'll be on hand when you need them. many. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. resulting in better quality for less money. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. If you are cooking for one. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. you can reduce your total cost of food. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. For example.

You'll be investing a little cash now. If it's a non-perishable item. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. 87 . the more you will lower your cost of food. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. grab it. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service.

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but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. there are exceptions to every rule. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. Example: a potato. and it's wonderful on the palate. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. of course. It rarely needs any improvement. Yes. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. and delicious. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. simple.Chapter 14: Real Food. Example: a tomato. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. It's hard to top perfection. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. they're tremendous in a million different ways. sauté them – you can do a 1.001 things with a potato. 89 . Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. With the majority of foods. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. fry them. Don't get me started. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. whip them. Cook it until tender. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. Cook them. very simple. Granted. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. Of course.

sour cream or plain yogurt. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. Shake some sea salt on the outside. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. Serve with salsa. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. And yes. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. To make my point. butter or butter substitute. I want to change the way you think about cooking. etc. if you approach it correctly. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. I have to use premade mixes. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). too. Poke holes in it with a fork. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. Wash it off. Take a potato. BAKED POTATO. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. TACOS.) 2. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. (And by the way. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. let alone crack open the recipe book. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult.Okay. In reality. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. bacon bits. 90 . Take a taco shell out of the package. I don't have time to cook". and the end results are always perfect. you have a valid point. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult.

add some pepper and salt. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. maybe some squash and carrots. If you're constantly stretched for time. RAMEN NOODLES. and they're ready in 3 minutes. and it's very tasty. whatever. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. Feel free to share your favorites with friends.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. chop up a tomato. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. but you only have to stir them once in a while. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. bowties. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. add a little water. so it's very cheap as RICE WITH VEGGIES. elbow. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. (For convenience. and add that. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. and heat on low for 5 minutes. 91 . When they're done. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. Toss them into the finished soup. 4. and you've got a quick cheesy meal.grocerysavings. put into a bowl. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. As I mentioned above. Sure. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. The secret to innovative. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. Not too exciting. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. toss in the noodles. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. So vary your enhancements. It's fast. You know what these are. To top it. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top.3. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. drain. it will be good as new. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. 5.

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. if you approach it correctly. you'll be saving LOTS of money. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. and you'll eat better. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. 92 . Plus. you can cut your food costs in half. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. If it is.experiment. If you start building a list of quick. too. healthier food every day. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. It's hard to top perfection. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. try new things.

Heck. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. Stir it once in a while.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. Easy. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. This doesn't have to be expensive.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. the rest is a cakewalk. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. If you're cooking-challenged. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. 93 . • If you can learn to make rice. Once you've got your own system down. Set your timer to 10 minutes. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. cook 'em a few minutes more. two cups of water. and many just about do all the work for you. nutritious dinner. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. One cup of rice. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. easy to remember. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. (HINT: boil a pot of water. the local pharmacy sells appliances now.

It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. Now. squash – basically any hard vegetable. kids just love rice. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. Buy a huge bag. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. Peel an onion. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. stir it or tend to it in any way. plug it in. Plus. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. For some reason.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. It's our job to keep the family happy. It’s the ideal cooking helper. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). PRESSURE COOKER. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. Plus. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. and save. You dump your ingredients in. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. water and salt / pepper in the pot. vegetables. You don't need to watch it. RICE COOKER. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. cool for 30 minutes. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. garlic. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. and your meat will fall off the fork. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. The same thing goes for carrots. and they'll love you back all the more. press the "chop" button. these scare the daylights out of most people. But hey. And the bowl. so there's not a lot of clean-up. scallions. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced.

Plus. and your veggies are ready to serve. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. try this. They'll be fully-cooked. I like to remove them. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. DEEP've ever had. turn up the heat. it's a nutritional crime. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. cauliflower. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. It's really a great appliance. tender and ready-to-eat.) Get over the fear. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. Close the pressure cooker. But admit your vice and face your fears. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. Add 3/4 cup water. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. 95 .) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. top with bread crumbs. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. Now. Yes. Mix up some tempura batter. Yes. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget.

and you don’t skin your knuckles. This appliance is indispensable in my household. hearty breakfast or side dish. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. The #1 use. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. Oil your griddle lightly. 96 . You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. The result is a flavorful. Plus. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes.) Grate an onion as well. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. of course. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. is to make pancakes.

I'm too busy to shop. the recipes you use (or don't use). you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. heat the glop and dish it up. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. – I'm too busy to shop. and the way you prepare your meals. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . consider the alternative answers.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. . you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. Plus.There's no time to cook. add the glop. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. For everyone else. Again. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. and you 97 . . Then. Now. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal.I hate to cook. – There's no time to cook.My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. .

The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. It will make your meals extra special. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. though. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. enjoy better meals. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. To avoid cooking. in the interest of saving time. with almost no additional 98 . They eat what they're given. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up.can save time. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. because it's what they've always eaten. You might be surprised on this one. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. Take it one step at a time. in this case). Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. and enjoy it a whole lot more. and lower your food costs. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. because it's all that they know. simple meals that your family will love. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. add a few pennies worth of spices. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. I call this QUICK COOKING. they don't expect anything better. – I hate to cook.

fresh potato wedges. etc.canned Fresh broccoli. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. frozen or tube biscuit dough. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. carrots. most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme. Tomatoes . turn on the stove. poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. a vegan or a Venutian. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. and how you're doing it. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients.large drum. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. dry potato flakes. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. For the sake of this discussion. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . any fresh vegetable Boneless. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. in the case of packaged foods). how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. pull out a pan. beans. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. The chef (or food manager. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . delicious recipes. With just a few minutes of planning. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. cheese. etc.investment of your time. whatever you choose to cook.uncooked Oatmeal . Okay. rip open a bag.dry Potatoes .

c. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. Determine what you have to work with first (i. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. The way you buy these items. The best way for YOU to cook. let's look at: a. what's cheapest / freshest). then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. even if 100 . Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. having them accessible.e. b. (more about this later). To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. store. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. The way you plan your menus. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. and you will save tremendous amounts of money.

101 . Determine what you have to work with first (i. what's cheapest / freshest). with almost no additional investment of your time. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. you CAN learn to quick fast. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.e. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. simple meals that your family will find the recipe for boiling water too difficult.

102 .

Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. tonight's special will be shrimp. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. technically they can. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. Surely. If shrimp is on sale. tonight's special will be flounder. But that doesn't mean people will pay. How to Cook Delicious. It may be the farmer's market. Think of your own dining experiences. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. When an item is in abundance. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . the fresh seafood market. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. or the wholesale meat market. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. You may wonder why the chefs use this method.

consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. cover and heat. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. For egg fu yung. 104 . straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. nothing could be simpler. then add your other ingredients. soy sauce. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. 2 parts water. Recipes. 2 parts water (or milk. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. If your meals are more infrequent. Microwave for about 3 minutes.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. i. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. For fried rice. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. if you like it richer. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. beef. in a matter of minutes. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. chicken bouillon. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. just add a little water. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. Sounds pretty easy. sashimi (imitation crab). For families on the go. and vegetables. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. Worcestershire sauce.e. Try it. saffron or other spices. To reheat. Add a splash of teriyaki. Let it steam for a few minutes.

Add a little cheese.. Here are a few ideas. full of fiber. Then. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. they can be a healthy choice too. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. cooked broccoli. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. Recipes: Again. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. chopped scallions. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. to make a tasty meal. Dinner: Serve them baked. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. and tasty. of course…). They'll only keep for a few days. You can boil.00 or $2.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. hot sauce. sour cream. and they learned many different recipes to add variety. These additives have 105 . The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. Or. Add cheese. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. bacon bits. If you're careful about what you put on them. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways.50 for a 5-lb. etc. They're fat free. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. for variety. etc. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. bag. mashed.. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. bake. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. Again. etc.

I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. vegetarian cooking. You're eliminating all of the additives. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. In the summer. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. But for busy people they can be an excellent. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. Plus. Yes. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. In the south. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. more food volume. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. The Irish knew this centuries ago. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. and many ethnic foods from around the world.almost no fat or calories. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition.

and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. and enjoy meals more. add a little water. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale.than the jars of sauce. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. feel better. buy them. strap a rubber band around the dish. fast cook as described above. heart disease. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. beets. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. potatoes. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. the lighter the seasoning the better. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. cover with plastic wrap. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . the more taste it will have. carrots. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. put the dish in a microwave. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. and you'll probably pay less. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. unique taste and nutrients. and your family will begin to eat healthier. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. and other serious diseases. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. tastiest items you can buy in a store. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes.

(Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. The recipe is extremely simple: . I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. If you're a bacon lover.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. . as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. . buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. nuke them in a small dish with a little water.Put into a big pot. 108 . especially when they're 3/$1. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. Of course. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. Okay. . • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with.Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). . with some water and simple spices.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. Normally. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. the bacon bits are a bargain. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. as appropriate. (Yes. If you don't like this. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. you can always use regular butter or margarine.

• For a cream sauce. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢.. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. Also. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first.Serve and enjoy. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt.) .) • For meat dishes. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. To reheat. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. add a little milk. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. sour cream. but if you have cubed beef. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. • For a little European flair. SLOWLY add 109 . If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. Of course. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. To thicken. pork or lamb. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). margarine. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. add some white or red wine to the dish. etc. or freezing some for later.

DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways.00. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. • To stretch your soup / stew. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. and excite your family's taste buds. You can also make a paste out of flour. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. just prior to serving. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. Often. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. salt and a little baking powder. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). water. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. if 110 . cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination.

MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. don't have a food processor at home. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. As long as you have a method of storing these items. you can buy them while they are on sale. and you can really save. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk.79.00 each. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. so get the bargains whenever you can. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. using a food processor with a grater blade. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. Prices these days can change from week to week. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. Colby. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. Cheddar or Mozzarella. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. Sure. Yes. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. all pork comes from a pig. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. you can grate Monterrey Jack. Then.

I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. enjoyable meals. From lowest to highest price. It's messy. breasts with wings attached.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts .Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. Bone-in Chicken Sections. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. the less you will pay. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. Often. the higher the price you pay. Or. all wings. etc. It's all in the cooking process.Skin on Boneless Breasts . the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. but this is simply not practical for many people. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. The higher up this chain you buy. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. the lower down the chain you buy. with all drumsticks. all bonein breast sections. including drumsticks. if you're willing to rebag them. 112 . flavorful. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. But the difference in cost can be significant. etc.into excellent. it takes time. Boneless Breasts . thigh sections.

Beef There are many different cuts of beef. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . onions. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. onions. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. If you don't have a pressure cooker. the slower it needs to be cooked. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. 3. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. which you like. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. carrots. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. 2. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. salt and shortening). etc. and bake for about 15 minutes. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. and it will please a huge. and surround with cleaned. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. With a pressure cooker. I add some carrots. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. and look for the best value you can. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. Replace the roast. just buy what you prefer. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. it comes with your pressure cooker. celery. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. For example. potatoes that I have cooked separately. hungry crowd.

which will be very evident when you cook it. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. and it will always come out great. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. so there's no need to worry about your health. 8. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. 4. the more tender your beef will be. 6. but leave the cooker on the burner. If you can't wait. If you want to serve your family hot. This way it will tenderize better. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. let the pressure go down naturally. If you can. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. Regarding chopped or ground beef. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. And if you don't drain away all the fat. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. Turn the heat off. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . I like to add chopped a red sauce. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. The longer you let the pot sit. drain it well after cooking. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. 7. Add about 2 cups of water. 5. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. salt and pepper.

Or. Here are some very simple. As mentioned earlier. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. meats. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. healthy and flavorful meals. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. rice. For meat-eaters. Once you've mastered these sauces. MARINARA SAUCE. if you're serving single portions. etc. the core element is chicken. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. If you family is bored with the food you cook. For vegetarians. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. the secondary element is rice or other grains. Variety is the spice of life. Then. potatoes. noodles. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. You could buy pre-made sauces. the secondary element is rice. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. you can make a better sauce 115 . the core element is one or more vegetables. pork or lamb. you can keep your food costs low. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it.the higher-priced cuts. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. If you are typically stressed for time. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve.). Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. With a little resourcefulness. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. beef. potatoes or other vegetables. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer.

Top with chopped chives for color. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. If your family likes mushrooms. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. this will work every time. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. MUSHROOM SAUCE. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. but margarine will do). Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. then serve over cooked pasta. but if your goal is to impress. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. CREAM SAUCE. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. start with a small carton of heavy cream. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. stirring occasionally. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. Top with grated cheese. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. but it does take extra time…). fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. if available). start on your sauce. To make a delicious marinara sauce. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. When the butter 116 . and you've got a great presentation. stirring constantly. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. and when they're almost done. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. Yes. I find that kids like it better without any spices). If you like. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. For example. When they are transparent but not browned. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients.

Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. Parmesan. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). Reduce heat to low. immediately take it off the stove. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. etc. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. Top with grated hard cheese. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. remove the seeds. 1 tsp. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. and pour it over your noodles. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. Pecorino.starts to burn. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. YOGURT SAUCE. stir and store. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. stews and other recipes. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). stirring constantly. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. ideal for special occasions. PESTO. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. Heat through. but do not boil. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. LEMON JUICE. Simply add some parsley. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. For variety. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste.

) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. stirring constantly. on medium heat. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. but it's much better in the long run.) Serve over barbecued. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. but once you get a craving for it. 2 tsp. 3 tsp. Cook for 10 min. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. typically found in health-food stores. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. they serve it over chicken and lamb. 1 tsp. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. stirring constantly. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. stirring constantly. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. In India. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. 1 tsp. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. broiled or 118 . In a clutch. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. This sauce is a bit exotic. Stir in a half cup white wine. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. from India). 2 tsp. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. ground red pepper. vegetables or any core item combination. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. Top with grated cheese. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. Slice 1 lb. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. minced very fine. it will require stirring. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. Fry until wilted and pale brown. then reheat prior to serving. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. ground fennel. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). chopped fresh ginger. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. served as a dipping sauce. ground coriander.that is sure to impress. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. ground cardamom. and add salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes.

When using. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. use the oil only and not the peppers. 1 tbs. olive oil and beat 119 . Sesame oil and 1 tsp. 1 tbl. most people prefer no MSG). mix 3/4 cup ketchup. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. Soy sauce. if desired. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. Worcestershire sauce). Soy sauce. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. Add chopped garlic.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp.fried chicken. half tsp. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. sugar. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. finely-chopped ginger. In a small jar. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. mix 1 tsp. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. Start with 3 tbl. a half tsp. In a small cup. Mix until blended. To make hot oil. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. or your choice of core ingredient. ginger. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. then salt. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). 3 tbl. hot chili paste. They work great. salt & pepper to taste. of sugar. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. (optional. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. If you are cheap like me. a hlaf tsp. sugar. pepper and garlic powder to taste. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. Blend the tastes. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. If you like things on the hot side. or more hot oil (see below). 1 tsp. vegetable. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. warm water. HOT CHILI SAUCE. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. 1 tbl. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. Add 1 tsp. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store.

and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. 1 tblsp. Whisk until blended. MEUNIERE SAUCE. Add to your list of sauces. 1 tsp. salt. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. each of cayenne pepper. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. 2 tsp. 3 tbsp. Simmer until thickened. dried oregano and dried thyme. lemon juice. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. In a small cup. Bring to a simmer. ketchup. Add 1 tsp. minced parsley. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. In a small saucepan. a dash of hot pepper sauce. Blend in 2 tsp. Add salt if desired. and cooks very quickly. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. 1/4 tsp. dry white wine. beating after each ingredient. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. chopped green onions. This is also a Cajun recipe. Add 3 tsp. 1/4 tsp. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. ideal over seafood. 120 . 1 tsp. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. These are but a few of the many. Louisiana hot sauce. As you can see. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. Add 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. 3 tsp.vigorously. prepared horseradish. For sheer elegance. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet.

you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. the higher the price you will pay. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. Often. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. more food volume. Prices these days can change from week to week. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. so get the bargains whenever you can. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. The higher up this chain that you buy. If your family is bored with the food you cook. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. the less you will pay. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. and excite your family's taste buds. But the difference in cost can be significant. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. as long as you have a method of storing these items. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. the lower down the chain that you buy. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. you need to buy them while they are on sale. The Irish knew this centuries ago. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts.

you can keep your food costs low. 122 . And by using core ingredients as the base (rice.can make meals new & exciting again.). etc. potatoes. noodles.

Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. buy the quart. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh.50. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. and serve in a glass with ice. 123 . And in many cases. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. or if you just don't like them. You can make them at home using a blender.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. Choose the storebrand. • Kids love slushees. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. but they cost $1. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. but it can also be very expensive. some ice. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive.00 or more at the burger joints. $2. We use the sugar-free varieties.

you cut off a section of pouch material. purchase can last for a full month. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. 124 . Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. but lower your total food bill. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. If you are super-diligent about this. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. here’s the advantage. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. Does it make a difference? Well. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. they cost about half as much. • If you give your kids snacks for school. if it’s an item you buy every month. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. You know. Plus. You'll accomplish the same goal. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. If you want to implement portion control. fill it with your food. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. by weight. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. With one of these machines. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. The net result: one 5 lb. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. Now.

rubbing alcohol. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. • Shop at the dollar stores. the need to clean. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly.. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. oven cleaner. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. etc. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. buy the big container and use a coupon. ammonia. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. baking soda. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. bathroom cleaner.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. this stuff won't go bad. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. It should make you feel smarter. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. dishwasher soap. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. can be made out of a combination of water.. etc. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of.. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. vinegar. This same type of product.. For example. etc.

SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. Helping to provide a 126 . you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. Our furry friends need help. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. When you see bargains like this. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. The program costs you nothing extra. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. With this program. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities.

Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. 127 . One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. Of course. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. what's the point? Life is too short. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. Rather than sacrifice quality. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. you're not using the system correctly. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies.

BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. or if you are especially resourceful. You can use plastic bags. 128 . Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use.

there are so many loopholes and 'trusted partners' who get your information.$30 or more in savings. only you're not working: you're having fun. The site will ask you a wide range of personal questions about your household. run a web search for "Peanut Butter Coupon". But if you read their Privacy Policy. Plus. Here is a trick: if you are required to answer questions about your usage of a product prior to your printing the coupon. if you find a coupon for a product your family uses a lot. You should be aware that many of these ‘free coupon’ sites are really consumer survey / information-gathering portals for the food manufacturing industry. you can print off as many as you like. A half-hour spent searching for coupons can easily reap $20 . do not participate in their surveys. Be wary. If you need a coupon for peanut butter. and if you are concerned about privacy and "Big Brother" knowing too much about you and your family. The website asked for two answers prior to receiving 129 . It's like having a part-time job that pays you $40 or $50 an hour. Value – with a Cost. one offer I came across was for chocolate powder that kids use to flavor their milk. Repeat this for all of the other main products you will be shopping for. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print immediately. Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. One site promises that your data remains safe. you can get some great coupons online.Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting If you have access to the Internet. and your answers will become part of a compiled database file on the members of your household. and provide the minimum amount of answers required to get to the coupons on their site. and will not be shared with third party firms. always skew your answers in the direction the marketers are looking for. For instance. it is clear that you are being profiled every step of the way.

and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. (techie note only. but it sure appeared to me that the food . Just to see what would happen. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer.” I discovered something surprising about this. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. How do I know this? Recently. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. but you currently use a competing brand. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. ignore this if you find it confusing. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. I tend to be cynical.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. This way. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes.the coupon: 1. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. so I logged out and logged back in again. I thought it was an error. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case.

or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers.29 per box $0. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages.65 ($1. etc. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. On a recent visit. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. Eversave. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. CoolSavings.80 for 2 boxes) Of course.25 ($1.29 total for 2 boxes) $0.29 minus $0. Here are some coupon sites to so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 .com. medicine. magazines. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers.

you don’t pay an annual fee. Coupons. so you will be directed here from many other sites. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return This site is well organized. Times. you can stock up on the specific coupon. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. But overall. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. plus a 50¢ administration fee.OnlineCoupons. This site requires that you pay a $ CentsOff. the Baltimore Sun. you don’t have to do all that clipping… and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. Here. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. This site requires you to register with minimal information. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. personal and cleaning products and more. There is a $99. then pay an additional $8. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. On this site. up until the expiration date of the coupon. but you do pay for each coupon. This site offers pre-clipped coupons. and you get to choose by specific brand names. it displays the specific coupons available by category. Plus. Thecouponclippers. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. etc.95 annual fee however.50 fee to join. gourmet food items. you can plan your savings over time. You can order multiples of the same coupon. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. The drawback is that you have to pay to save.

com. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge. shopping. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. This site uses a double opt-in validation process. etc. But visit it. It's like having 230. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values. many leading to the sites listed above. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. too! Fatwallet. 133 . they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. and see what you You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. value and guidance. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country.S.000 friends to ask advice from. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. As posted on their site. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. The site simply links to EverSave. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. The food industry giants monitor this site. Plus. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. There are no grocery coupons on this site. so I really can’t toot my own horn. Plus. entertainment. MyClipper. This is the author’s web site. for grocery discounts." GroceryDiscounts. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. rebates and regional offers posted or church social group.

You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. Knowledge = cash savings for you. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. and make a new friend. 134 . and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. Chances are. Plus. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat.

is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. So if you see someone lurking nearby. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". When you're not moving. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. be aware of where you left your cart. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. Similarly. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. It was Honore De Balzac who said. Shelf Surfing. Cart Courtesy. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. Okay. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. one way or another. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. they're 135 . two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time.

. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. Cashier Courtesy. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. if you’re wrong. 136 . like you and me. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. And. you can accept your error. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. They’re just people. Plus. So give them a break. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. Plus.probably waiting for you to move. If you have a discrepancy on a price. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. So make your choice and move on. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. trying to make it through their shift.. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. Instead of. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. as will your cashier. try. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. they’ll never let you live it down. Plus. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. apologize. and simply walk away from the service counter. So give her a break. she’s there to help you. as well. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family.

walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid.Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. Instead. 137 . it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer.

138 .

but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. The bad news is. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. so they don't have to search for the price. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. regular price $7. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. many 139 . you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. In other words. for example.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. Let’s say.99. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. you can purchase this same item for $3.

It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. Speed Shopping. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. i. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day.e. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store.m. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. Make Saving a Habit. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. And honestly. Most of the time.m.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. they don't know any other way. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. 140 . All this is great. Now. when you need those three or four items. In time. I locate the sale items. you will save money on food. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. "Acme Grocery".stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. when you're reading the Sunday paper. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. I may find only three or four coupons. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for.

If you like gourmet cooking. If it's defective. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. cilantro. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. If you have a patio or deck. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. it's nothing like that. Try it. etc. Once in a blue moon. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. return it to the store for a new one. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. Start a Soup Night. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. or just not be usable. thyme. Turn this to your advantage. taste horrible. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. parsley. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. Okay.00 off coupons for their other products. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. (Is that unethical. CRAZY??? No. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. actually. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. and they all spit it out. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). nothing is better than fresh basil.Never Settle for Poor Quality. So it was well worth my time to complain. he spit it out.

By learning how to prepare these items quickly. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. 142 .for fi the price or less. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. If they're defective. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. using your breadmaker. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. get your money back or get a replacement. It makes a terrific dinner. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. you will habitually save on food.

You don't have to settle for second best. Good shopping to you all. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. You can shop quickly and efficiently. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. regardless of how time-challenged you are. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. there you have it. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 .Closing Notes Well. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious.

zip code NB .Limited.Name.Dated cash register tape DCRTC .In search of LTD .Free Standing inserts.instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI .coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .National Brand NBQ .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns . Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.Cash register tape DCRT.The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .National Brand Qualifier 144 .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH . usually has a red border C/O .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .Manufacturer MFR . HBA .Manufacturer Money + .coupon dispensed at register after purchase.cents off coupon Codes .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund . address.Buy one get one free Catalina .manufacturer's coupons CRT . These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.Hope this helps ISO . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .

a coupon that is good on one purchase.Try Me Free Triple coupon .net weight OAS .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.proof of purchase PP .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .No expiration date Nfp .On a single item POP . etc) SWEEPS .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .while supplies last YMMV .purchase price PPHF .Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles . a $1 coupon = $2.) 145 .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .NED .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .specially marked packages SS .Random act of kindness SF .sweepstakes form Tear pad .Universal Product Code WSL .Store form SMP .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable. any size OSI .

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. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. FKB Group PLC. and Allied Graphic Arts. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week.40% .000 per year.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. That’s at least $1. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. Discover the system that can save you 30% .500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON.000 to $5. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. retailers and financial institutions. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS.

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